Panelists

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Rachel M Mangan

Rachel M Mangan is an award-winning writer with a Master’s in scriptwriting. From her basement studio she writes features, shorts, pilots, and book adaptations as well as edits stories for her film family. With her twin sister she creates animated web-shows that endear audiences with the heart of their characters and the hope of their themes.

Amy Brower

Amy Brower is a working actor, producer, and award-winning filmmaker with over 15 years in the theater and film industry. She’s had the opportunity to work with nationally and regionally recognized production companies all across the Southeast, on both sides of the camera. Amy’s “boots on the ground” approach ensures directors and producers can expect a collaborative process that delivers high level solutions for their project. Additionally, as a parent of two young actors, she is fiercely committed to creating safe, creative spaces for parents and children in the entertainment industry. In 2020, Brower Casting was created to bridge the gap between local projects and local talent and contribute to the growth and success of our creative community, one project at a time.

Elizabeth Karner

Elizabeth started making films with her cousins when she was 7. At the time, she was “talent”, but it sparked a love for creating stories and visual magic. Elizabeth went on to be an art major, focusing on sculpture and photography. After undergrad, Elizabeth began working in marketing, doing photographing, planning events, and project managing. Eventually, Elizabeth started doing more and more Producing for client work and moved to Producing full-time 3 years ago. Elizabeth has since grown in her career, becoming a Line Producer, but is always ready to be a helping hand on set. She will do Production Design, and Set Dressing when the project needs it and enjoys flexing her creative arm. Elizabeth is passionate about growing the industry, especially for women and people of color. Her goal is to bring more work to the area and create more jobs.

Courtney Locke

Courtney Locke is an actress, writer, and founder of Actor Mommy Productions. In their first year, Actor Mommy produced several short films, a pilot presentation, three original stage shows and the Actor Mommy Podcast. Actor Mommy’s mission is to create content and resources for actor moms by actor moms. Stay-at-Homes, Actor Mommy’s first pilot presentation about a laid off-Broadway dancer who joins a stroller league, was accepted into the Mom Film Fest in May 2023. She is excited to be a part of this event and meet other women in film.

Jaden Gutierrez

I am a Professional Makeup Artist in the Film & Tv Industry, specializing in Prosthetic work as well as a Licensed Esthetician. I am from Los Angeles and have been working for about a couple years now. I also have taught Color Theory for the Esthetician Program at Greenville Technical College, and spoke at Film Bar for the HMU Department, and much more theatre work.

Rhodes Farrell

Rhodes’ experience spans more than 15 years within the realm of filmmaking. His portfolio encompasses a wide array of projects, ranging from promotional videos for businesses of varying scales to educational institutions and non-profit organizations. Notably, several of his cinematic works have been nominated and awarded at local film festivals. In his capacity as the Founder of Film Bar Monday in Greenville, he has successfully instituted a vibrant networking community, contributing significantly to the enrichment of the filmmaking landscape in the Upstate of South Carolina, fostering growth, education, and encouragement within the industry. You can also find him on his YouTube channel or Podcast titled ‘Indie Film Hub’.

Thomas Stroud

Thomas Stroud is a freelance commercial producer with 8+ years of experience working in the advertising industry. He started his career as a DP, Photographer, Editor, and is now freelance producing with agencies and production companies across the US.
He’s worked at a three-time Small Agency of the Year, AdAge’s top 10 Agency of the year, Adweek’s 6th Fastest Growing Global Agency, 2022 Drum Awards winner of the B2B for Good Category, and the Gold winner of AdAge’s Small Agency of the Year, Southeast. Working with brands such as AFLAC, Lenovo 11, UScellular, NAPA Auto Parts, Electrolux, Serta, Organic Valley, Liquid Death, Nutribullet, Char-Broil Grills, Oklahoma Joe’s Smokers, Lowes Foods & Fruit of the Loom.

McKinley Benson

McKinley Benson is a filmmaker and alumnus of the Savannah College of Art and Design, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Film & Television. He is a director, producer, and writer responsible for dozens of narrative shorts, TV pilots, and documentaries, playing at festivals around the world and garnering three Student Emmy awards. In 2017, McKinley co-founded an independent production studio, Room 330, specializing in high-quality, genre-focused narrative work. Throughout his professional history, he has had the pleasure of working with companies such as Netflix, Amazon Studios, Disney, 20th Century, and XYZ Films. Currently, McKinley is directing his first animated film in partnership with the Oscar-nominated production cooperative, COLA Animation, while also directing a live-action mockumentary project, winner of the 2023 Indie Grant.

Angela Roote

Angela Roote began her career as a producer in New York City, honing skills that set the stage for a journey in production. After several years in photo production, Angela returned to North Carolina in 2016, where she refined her skills in the film industry at Trailblazer Studios in Raleigh, North Carolina. There she learned the ins and out of series and commercial development. In 2018 A Roote Production was founded which led to successful collaborations with clients like Burt’s Bees, Tastemade, Blue Chalk Media, Wayfair, Volvo and more. Throughout Angela’s career, a proven ability to blend creativity with effective management has left an indelible mark on diverse projects, ensuring continued success in the ever changing world of content creation. Angela spearheads all aspects of production, showcasing expertise in logistics, casting, budgeting, crew, storyboarding and more. 2022 brought the new venture of directing for docuseries featured on multiple networks.

Zach Echols

Zachary Echols, a North Carolina-based writer, producer, and director, kicked off his journey in the arts through live theater. Soon after he delved into the intricacies of film acting, ultimately shifting his focus to the behind-the-scenes aspects. He cut his teeth in the film world (both metaphorically and literally) working on the sets of “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul” and “Doom Patrol” in the grip and electrical department. Zachary, along with his crew at Trash Mouth Productions, crafts stories that weave the absurd with a whole lot of heart. These works include the surealist rom-com “Lovestruck” and the pilot episode of “The Murder on Cape Melancholy.”

Marti Young

Marti King Young is a writer, director, and producer. She has worked alongside showrunner Sheryl Anderson on the Netflix hit series, SWEET MAGNOLIAS, and Albert T. Dickerson III on CLASS OF 09 (Hulu/FX) and GENIUS: ARETHA (NatGeo). She assisted James Wan, Dave Neustadter, and Victoria Palmieri on ANNABELLE COMES HOME and THE CONJURING 3. Currently, she assists Emmy award winning Co-Executive Producer Ellen Blum on the ABC 20th Television’s hit series, WILL TRENT. Marti has been featured in the German publication Cinewomen for her contributions to women in film and has won awards for her activism for inclusion of those with disabilities and special needs. Her film STOLEN won her a Best Director award at the Miami Beach Film Festival, and her movie THE ADVENTURES OF WONDERBOY traveled the globe and raked in awards. She still uses the film to prove that inclusion is possible in industry. She’s a proud member of the Alliance of Women Directors and serves as a mentor to screenwriters at The Good Word Writer’s Retreat, an annual event in Patmos, Greece.

Tim Driscoll

Tim Driscoll is an award winning director, producer, and editor who has created content for Sony PlayStation, YouTube, 3M, ViewSonic and the Food Network. His narrative work focuses on the internal conflicts of self-sabotaging people with thematic emphasis on identity, hypocrisy, redemption, and religion. His short films have screened at festivals all over the world including: Fantastic Fest, BiFan, Sitges and Nashville. In Addition to filmmaking, Driscoll is the program director for the Jacksonville Film Festival, and co-founder of the Jacksonville, FL. and Greenville, SC. Film Bar Mondays; where he has helped bring over 200 short films to screen. He resides in Greenville, SC. with his wife and children.
Director Reel:
Producer / Editor – PlayStation Esports
Producer – Washington Post Creative Group + 3M
Producer – ViewSonic VG56V Webcam Docking Monitor
Producer – ViewSonic United By Play

Marti Young

Marti King Young is a writer, director, and producer. She has worked alongside showrunner Sheryl Anderson on the Netflix hit series, SWEET MAGNOLIAS, and Albert T. Dickerson III on CLASS OF 09 (Hulu/FX) and GENIUS: ARETHA (NatGeo). She assisted James Wan, Dave Neustadter, and Victoria Palmieri on ANNABELLE COMES HOME and THE CONJURING 3. Currently, she assists Emmy award winning Co-Executive Producer Ellen Blum on the ABC 20th Television’s hit series, WILL TRENT. Marti has been featured in the German publication Cinewomen for her contributions to women in film and has won awards for her activism for inclusion of those with disabilities and special needs. Her film STOLEN won her a Best Director award at the Miami Beach Film Festival, and her movie THE ADVENTURES OF WONDERBOY traveled the globe and raked in awards. She still uses the film to prove that inclusion is possible in industry. She’s a proud member of the Alliance of Women Directors and serves as a mentor to screenwriters at The Good Word Writer’s Retreat, an annual event in Patmos, Greece.

Richard J. Diaz

Richard J. Diaz serves as the Co-founder and C.E.O. of Protocol Films and has been directing in the Atlanta area for over 10 years. From live theater to feature films he has had the pleasure of working on a multitude of projects. He most recently directed the feature film Kidnapped and is currently readying more projects for the silver screen.

Emily White

Award-winning filmmaker Emily Reach White has an extensive and varied career writing and producing films, both short and feature length. In almost 20 films ranging from the Southern Gothic comedy anthology UNBECOMING (co-producer), to the personal dramedy based on her father’s terminal disease GET BETTER (co-writer, co-director) to the farcical movie business exploits of CINEMA PURGATORIO (co-writer, co-producer), White has continually showcased her diverse talents and creativity. Recently, she produced the music-centric, coming of age comedy ELECTRIC JESUS, which explores the world of a fictional 80’s Christian hair metal band called 316. The band’s journey from playing Bible camp talent shows to head-banging rock venues is an amusing look at youth culture during the time when heavy metal music was bathed in controversy. The film stars Brian Baumgartner (The Office), Judd Nelson (THE BREAKFAST CLUB, ST. ELMO’S FIRE) and newcomers Shannon Hutchinson (ASSASSINAUT) and Andrew Eakle (Creepshow, THE GLORIAS). ELECTRIC JESUS won dozens of prizes during its two-year film festival run, including numerous Best Picture awards and many Audience Favorite prizes. The film was picked up for distribution by 1091 Pictures. White was chosen as a content creator for the 2020-2021 Wide Angle Lab project sponsored by the South Carolina Film Commission’s Indie Grants program. Wide Angle Lab is a media incubator and the only one of its kind in the nation. She will function as executive producer, producer and screenwriter throughout the project. White has an M.A in English Literature from Miami University. She currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina and is married to director/producer/screenwriter Chris White.

Erik Lingvall

Backstage.com contributor and winner of the Readers’ Choice Award for Atlanta’s Favorite Acting Coach in Backstage Magazine, Erik Lingvall brings with him over 18 years of experience guiding and training talent, throughout the country. As the founder of Catapult Acting Studios, Erik has established himself as one of the go-to coaches for tv/film actors in the Southeast. Originally from California, Erik currently resides in Atlanta, with his wife and two daughters. He is dedicated to guiding & connecting his clients to the right people & right path, always reminding them to enjoy the process as much as the product at the end. Erik is also the host of a new podcast The Unscene Work where he dives in with actors on all the ‘unscene’ work that takes place in the acting room. Erik’s clients can be seen in projects like: Euphoria, Samaritan, The Adam Project, The Babysitter’s Club, The Walking Dead, Disney’s Bunk’d & Raven’s Home, Dog with a Blog, The House With A Clock In Its Walls, FOX’s The Gifted, Nashville, The Hate U Give, Maze Runner, Noah, Terminator Genisys, Batman V Superman, and many more.

John Castle

John Castle is an alien from another planet. No one knows which planet or even which galaxy he comes from. What we do know is that he joined the film industry in late 2019. Since then he’s worked on multiple projects including Wandavision, The Game, over 30 commercials, 5 Lifetime movies and multiple Knoxville crime shows. He also coaches new and working actors at The Actors Scene. He knows a thing or two about being a professional auditioner. He also enjoys long walks on the beach.

Brittney Q. Hill

John Castle is an alien from another planet. No one knows which planet or even which galaxy he comes from. What we do know is that he joined the film industry in late 2019. Since then he’s worked on multiple projects including Wandavision, The Game, over 30 commercials, 5 Lifetime movies and multiple Knoxville crime shows. He also coaches new and working actors at The Actors Scene. He knows a thing or two about being a professional auditioner. He also enjoys long walks on the beach.

Natasha Reilly

Natasha Reilly is an award winning student filmmaker. Currently attending Georgia State University for Film and Media, she has completed pathways in the Georgia Film Academy and has been making movies since middle school. Her films have won multiple national awards at the Student Television Network, as well as screening at the largest high school film festival in the world in Times Square. Her current filmmaking interest is in exploring new techniques with the medium, with unconventional and experimental editing, working to learn the limits of the craft.

Gregory Hedquist

My name is Gregory Hedquist. I’m 17 years old and a junior at Lanier High School. I’ve been a heavily active participant in the Lanier High School Film Program and Film club since my freshman year and frequent directing and writing when it comes to such projects. I’m very excited to panel for this Film Festival, and am very eager to see what you all make!